Acacia Tree Lodge is a new hotel that is located in Nairobi, Kenya, and, strangely enough, its owner is from the United States, from Texas to be exact.
Travel writers have described this hotel as “beautifully-decorated” with an interior that combines some of the best traditional cultural trappings of the East African country with the modern luxury amenities that most international travelers desire when they leave home. Somehow, these same travel writers note, this hotel also maintains a somewhat reasonable price point as compared to many other similar properties in the space.
All of that is great, but here’s what makes the Acacia Tree Lodge in Nairobi, Kenya truly special: in addition to its stylish and beautiful design, it also serves as a social enterprise aimed at educating children in Kibera, which is Nairobi’s most noticeable slum. This hotel’s staff, are as hospitable and capable as any in the hospitality space, and they also include graduates of the aforementioned educational program.
The hotel is the work of Sandy Baird, the director of a faith-based non-profit organization called the New Hope Initiative, and Baird had been coming to Africa to do volunteer work on the continent for more than a decade.
Baird first got the idea to open a hotel after identifying a gap in the market there. Baird has said that he was also tired of the endless fundraising work that was required to keep his nonprofit organization sustainable.
More About the Acacia Tree Lodge
By industry standards, the Acacia Tree Lodge is a small property that only has roughly a dozen rooms and one suite. Within the industry this earns the property the title of being a boutique hotel. The hotel, however, is far more than that.
With its emphasis on education, the space could be powerful means of helping to educate the local youth and thereby bettering the fortunes of the entire community. The New Hope Initiative alone currently funds roughly 400 students through the end of their elementary school studies in Kibera.
Baird previously worked with Manna Worldwide, which is a global non-profit, and in that capacity he had been bringing guests and volunteers to East Africa for many, many years. Baird learned that he could actually fill the rooms with just their own needs now via working with groups of volunteers for New Hope. In addition to all of that, hospitality and tourism is a growing industry in the region and there are more people than ever before taking interest in building a career in that particular sector.